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History

A Quirky Collection of Cat Whiskers Diligently Cataloged in a Handbound Book from the 1940s

January 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

An inside spread of the handmade book created from 1940-1942 by Janet Gnosspelius. All images © Collingwood Archive, shared with permission

This recent discovery in the Collingwood Archive of the Cardiff University Special Collections purrfectly catalogs a young girl’s childhood quirks. A handmade book by Janet Gnosspelius contains every one of her cats’ whiskers found in her home from 1940 to 1942. Gnosspelius wove the whiskers into the pages, dated, and noted how each was discovered, whether “while playing darts,” “under edge of lino in pantry,” on the “dining room hearthrug,” or “under back door draught protector.”

Gnosspelius was the daughter of artist and sculptor Barbara Collingwood and the granddaughter of W.G. Collingwood, John Ruskin’s secretary, and was one of the first women to attend the Liverpool School of Architecture. Archivists say the meticulous nature Gnosspelius exhibited in creating her book remained throughout her life as she worked in “local history and building conservation, regularly posting samples of masonry to Liverpool City Planning Office, neatly labelled with their provenance and date, demanding their restoration.”

At age 40, Gnosspelius channeled her creative energy once again into creating a special diary documenting the lives of her feline friends. “The diary is no ordinary one,” a note to Colossal from archivists reads. “It is written from the perspective of her beloved ginger cat Butterball, recording the dates of his fights, illnesses, and stays with friends: ‘9 March 1965: wrapped my mouse in the mat outside kitchen door.'” More information about Gnosspelius’s family history is available in this online exhibition.

 

 



Art

Laughable High-jinks of Cartoon Rivals Tom and Jerry Are Recreated Perfectly in Sculptures by Taku Inoue

December 31, 2019

Grace Ebert

Japanese artist Taku Inoue isn’t letting anyone forget the most outlandish moments of Tom and Jerry’s notorious cartoon feud. Through his sculptures showing Tom Cat flattened from sliding underneath a door and Jerry Mouse molded into the shape of a cheese slice, the artist recreates the iconic animated pair’s most painful and hilarious accidents. In the American cartoon series that premiered in 1940, Tom most often finds himself in unfortunate mishaps as he tries and regularly fails to capture Jerry. Many of Inoue’s pieces center the show’s slapstick humor, featuring Tom’s contorted body as he’s stuffed into a water glass or duplicated to resemble bowling pins. Follow all of the artists’s comical sculptures depicting the forever rivals on Twitter and Instagram. (via deMilked)

 

 



Photography

A New Book Compiling Hundreds of Timeless Feline Photos by Walter Chandoha is the Cat’s Meow

August 16, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

1955. All photographs © 2019 Walter Chandoha, courtesy of Taschen

A new book chronicles over seventy-five years of photographer Walter Chandoha’s images of cats.  Around 1950, Chandoha found a kitten outside in the winter snow. The cat, who he adopted and named Loco (shown in the photo below dated 1951), started the photographer’s affinity for documenting cats, which continued for the rest of his life. The New York-based photographer, who passed away earlier this year, was quite prolific. His archive contains over 225,000 photos, including about 90,000 of his feline friends. Hundreds of these charming, often candid photographs are compiled in a new 296-page book published by Taschen, with writing and editing by Susan Michals and Reuel Golden, respectively. The book was released on August 12, 2019, and is available online. (via Creative Review)

Astoria, 1951

Chandoha’s Long Island home studio, 1955

New Jersey, 1961

New Jersey, 1982

New York City, 1950

 

 



Design

Three Cats in Japan Have a Closet Full of Custom-Made Hats Felted From Their Shedded Fur

August 2, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Japanese couple Ryo and Hiromo Yamazaki combine their affinity for fashion design, felines, and photography by building hats for their three cats out of the animals’ own shedded fur. The Yamazakis have created a wide range of designs that have become increasingly intricate over the years. Simple acorn-like shapes have evolved to elaborate samurai helmets, sailor caps, and duck likenesses, and the different shades of the cats’ orange, tabby, and white fur allow for nuance within each hat.

For readers concerned about the alarmed looks on Nya, Maru, and Mugi’s faces, the cats are all Scottish Folds, a specific cat type that has been bred for unique features including rounded faces and wide eyes, and they appear just as nonplussed when relaxing sans-hats. It’s worth noting that some veterinary professionals in the U.K. and governments in Australia have warned against or effectively banned the breed due to its adverse health effects on the cats.

You can follow along with the human and feline Yamazaki family on Instagram. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Design

Neko Cup Creates Adorable Napping Cat Sand Sculptures

July 16, 2019

Johnny Waldman

If you’re walking along the beach this summer and you see a group of napping cat sand sculptures, there’s a good chance it’s the work of a Neko Cup (neko is the Japanese word for cat). Neko Cup is the latest product from Japanese design brand h-concept. Made from biomass plastic (bamboo and scallop shells) the hollowed out object creates a silhouette of a napping cat.

It can be used on the beach, in your park’s sandbox and, in the winter, with snow. And when it’s not in use, it also functions as ab adorable little sculpture. Designer Yuka Morii says she loves seeing cats sleeping on the sidewalk and she wanted to preserve that warm feeling she gets when she spots one out of the corner of her eye.

If you’re in Japan you can purchase one from the h-concept online shop. They come in white, beige and black and retail for 2,916 yen ($26.95). (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

 

 



Illustration

Frazzled Cats Formed From Hundreds of Hatched Lines by Luis Coelho

June 14, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Meeko, Zipps, and Bubi”

Illustrator Luis Coelho uses cross-hatching and stippling to form wide-eyed and bushy-tailed cats, armadillos, and flying squirrels. The seemingly surprised stylized animals are built using carefully placed short lines that build texture and volume. Coelho, who lives in his hometown of Guimarães, Portugal, shares with Colossal that he has had a lifelong affinity for art. After studying painting and illustration in college and in Barcelona, he explored other paths for several years. Coelho returned to art in seeking the meditative qualities of the practice:

One day I gave both my two nieces a blank sheet and I told them that they would have to decide what animals should appear on those white papers and that then I would have to draw those animals for them. I also told that those animals would be the guardians of their dreams and whenever they needed to get out of a nightmare they just needed to call them. What I didn’t know at that moment was that those two drawings marked the very beginning of the style that I’m working today.

Inspired by the delight he felt in collaborating with his nieces, Coelho has focused his formerly wide-ranging art practice on animal interpretations for the young and young at heart. “Maybe because it started this way, I feel like all my creatures seem to have come out of a dream world, somewhat obscure but also adorable,” Coelho explains. Through sharing his work online, the artist has been able to leave his office job and pursue illustration full-time. You can see more from Coelho on his web shop and Instagram, where he accepts commissions. If you enjoy these critters, also look into the work of Kamwei Fong and Lindsey Thomas.

“Johnny Crumpets”

“Papami”

“Phoebe”

“Plopsy”

“Puffin”

“Panpan”

“Zipps”

 

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A post shared by Luis Coelho (@purr.in.ink) on

 

 



Design

Minimalist Modular Systems Turn Walls Into Feline Playgrounds

May 8, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman, founders of CatastrophiCreations, design modular wall-mounted systems to keep cats active. Parents of humans and pets alike (myself included) are all too familiar with the trip hazard of toys scattered on the floor. Wilson and Hanneman move the activity zone to the wall with vertical playgrounds that allow cats to climb, jump, scratch, and even tip-toe across swinging bridges. Eschewing bright colors and plastic materials, the designers use solid wood, hidden brackets, and canvas to create more subtle and sustainable products. You can learn more about the the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based business in an interview and factory tour on Etsy’s blog. Check out their range of products, from the Thunderdome to the Temple Complex, in their online store.